Jennifer Lopez has been working hard these past few months at relaunching her career as a triple threat entertainer. But between her tumble at last fall's American Music Awards, the much mocked catsuit she wore during a televised New Year's Eve performance, and the groan-inducing trailer for her new movie The Back-Up Plan, it's hard to say her big comeback has been a raging success. We aren't music or fashion experts here, but when it comes to her choice in movie roles, we've got three pieces of advice for J-Lo that will help her break out of her rom-com rut:
1. Stop trying to be relatable: Like Eminem, Jennifer Lopez alternates between three distinct personalities when she's entertaining us. There's Jennifer Lopez, actress; fabulous diva J-Lo; and regular old Jenny from the block. The problem is, she's only ever been entertaining in one of those incarnations. She's spent a lot of time in her music career trying to convince us that she's still got street cred in the Bronx neighborhood she grew up in, and a lot of time on screen trying to prove she can play a convincing girl-next-door. She's publicly stated that she doesn't want to be called J-Lo anymore. Yet interest in her was at its peak during the days when she embraced her diva image with over-the-top red carpet fashions and larger-than-life romances with the likes of Sean "Diddy" Combs and Ben Affleck. I'm not saying Jennifer needs to revert back to these antics in her personal life (we're glad to see her happily settled with a husband and family), but why not seek out a movie role that would allow her to poke a little fun at her former notoriety? I think anyone who lived through the era of hourly "Bennifer" updates in the news would have an easier time warming up to a self-deprecating, scenery-chewing Lopez than to the one innocently making moon eyes at Alex O'Laughlin in The Back-Up Plan.
2. Get tough: Despite the unfortunate catsuit mishap, most would agree that Jennifer still looks fabulous. So why not kick some ass? Jennifer never received higher praise for her acting than she did for her performance as the tough, sexy U.S. Marshall Karen Cisco in Out of Sight. And while Enough may have been considered a box-office flop, I know plenty of girls who have spent many a happy afternoon cheering Lopez on as a buff, vengeance-seeking wronged woman when the movie pops up on cable. Maybe it's time for Jennifer to give Quentin Tarantino a call, or pursue one of those sexy spy/assassin/cop roles that only ever seem to go to Angelina Jolie these days.
3. Hit the stage: When actresses who are used to headlining romantic comedies want to start getting taken seriously, they usually deglamorize themselves and go after an Oscar nomination. This route already failed for Lopez (her work alongside Robert Redford in An Unfinished Life didn't give her the acclaim she'd hoped for), but luckily there is another route she can take in her quest to redeem herself as an actress: Broadway! If she were to take a stint as, say, one of the merry murderesses of Chicago before her next movie role, people might be more inclined to think of her as a natural born performer rather than a fame-obsessed tabloid queen. And this is the exact message she wants to get through to people if she wants to keep calling herself a movie star. If she fails, her next gig just might end up being on Dancing with the Stars.